Panang Curry Paste

Panang curry paste in Thai is called Nam Phrik Kaeng Panaeng uses the same ingredients as red curry paste with additional spices of coriander seeds and cumin seeds. These additional spices bring a beautiful aroma and strong fragrance that distributes a distinctive flavor to the dish.

Panang curry paste is easy to make when using a food processor. In the past, my poor old grandmother didn’t have this luxury. She made the paste by drying spices in a pan without oil (this is called dry frying) and grinding them before pounding each ingredient together with a stone mortar and pestle. It took ages!

Here is a secret of making an aromatic curry paste in traditional ways.

First is to dry fry coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a pan before grinding with a mortar and pestle or faster result I recommend using a coffee grinder (a small portion may not be good to use with a coffee grinder).

Secondly, wrap the shrimp paste with foil and cook under either a hot grill or on a charcoal grill for a few minutes and turn a package twice. Doing this will definitely bring a strong fragrance to your curry dish!

To reduce timing, you may use ground coriander seed and cumin then blend them with all ingredients together with food processor. This will take 5-10 minutes including preparation. You curry paste will still be tasteful!

Panang Curry Paste
Preparation: 10 minutes
Spicy Level: mild
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Dried big red chili pepper seedless and soaked in water till soft 5 pieces
Coriander Seeds 1½ tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Galangal finely chopped 1 tbsp
Lemongrass finely chopped (use part from root to the middle) 1 tbsp
Kaffir lime skin finely chopped 1 ½ tsp
Coriander roots finely chopped 1 tbsp
Black peppercorns 1 tsp
Garlic peel skin off 2 cloves
Shallots sliced 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Shrimp paste 1 tsp

How to make:

  • Dry fry coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a pan over low to medium heat. Constantly shake the pan to prevent the seeds burning.

  • Wrap the shrimp paste with foil and cook under a hot grill or you may cook on a charcoal grill for a few minutes, turning a package twice.

  • Grind dry fried coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until smooth.

  • Process ground spices, shrimp paste and all fresh ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You may scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula during blending process to help the mixture forms a smooth paste.

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